Further update to Hepatitis A outbreak


Public Health Wales and our partners are investigating one further case of Hepatitis A linked with the current outbreak.

 The total number of confirmed cases is 13, with 10 having an association with pupils in Glyn Gaer school, two being in the Caerphilly community and a further case associated with Ysgol Rhydywaun.

Heather Lewis, Consultant in Health Protection for Public Health Wales, said: “This new case is a pupil at Ysgol Rhydywaun, where there was already a previously confirmed case.

“Although hepatitis A is usually a mild illness in children, a safe vaccine to prevent it is available. To reduce the number of additional cases vaccination is being offered to all pupils and staff who may be at risk over the next week.

“We are confident that to date, all the public health actions needed to control this outbreak have been taken and that the risk to the public remains low.

“We appreciate any new case may cause concern but none of the new cases were unexpected and we  will see further cases arising from this outbreak as the incubation period for hepatitis A is up to 50 days.

“Hepatitis A is spread from person to person by people not washing their hands after going to the toilet. The single most important thing people can do to prevent the virus spreading is to ensure they use good hand washing techniques after using the toilet and before preparing or eating food.”

Hepatitis A is a viral infection, usually short lived that has unpleasant symptoms but is rarely serious. Children often only have a very mild illness.

Symptoms of Hepatitis A can include flu-like illness such as tiredness, general aches and pains, headaches and fever, as well as loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting, abdominal pains, jaundice, very dark urine and itchy skin.

People are advised to contact their own GP or NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47 if they have any concerns about their health or their child’s health.

Hepatitis A vaccination is not routinely offered on the NHS as the infection is rare in the UK, with only 8 laboratory confirmed cases in Wales in 2014.

However, it is advised that anyone travelling to a country where the infection is more common (particularly Africa, northern and southern Asia, Central America and southern and eastern Europe) should receive the Hepatitis A vaccination along with any other travel immunisations recommended by their GP.

Further information about hepatitis A is available on the Public Health Wales website at http://www.wales.nhs.uk/sitesplus/888/page/43692